Debunking Gates

220px-Bill_Gates_World_Economic_Forum_2007Jay P. Greene offers a post that documents a pattern of Bill Gates & company abusing the idea of “research” and “evidence” to support their policy preferences which which includes the Common Core.

An excerpt:

In education reform debates it is far too common to hear someone say “the evidence shows” something that is just their preferred policy that is not supported by research at all.  People confuse what makes good sense and is good politics with what is actually supported by evidence.  At the Gates Foundation this problem is endemic.  They have repeatedly confused evidence and politics.

I think I can clearly illustrate this confusion of evidence and policy preference at the Gates Foundation in the most recent article by Tom Kane in Education Next summarizing the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) project results.   MET is an ambitious project to record several thousand classroom lessons, survey students, and administer multiple standardized tests to identify the best way to measure teacher effectiveness and eventually identify teaching practices that are associated with greater learning.  The study costs $45 million on top of the $335 million reported cost of implementing the program in several school districts.

The main claimed finding of MET at this point is that combining classroom observation and student survey scores with student achievement gains is the best way to measure teacher effectiveness.  As Kane writes, “the evidence reveals that…  rather than rely on any single indicator, schools should try to see effective teaching from multiple angles.”  I’m willing to agree with Kane that using multiple measures of teacher effectiveness is supported by political wisdom and sound theory, but the evidence they produced does not demonstrate the merits of multiple measures.

Be sure to read the rest.